1440 The Messiah Has Come

Transcript

ROBERT >> There are many who believe that Christianity is a blind faith, a superstitious belief without any basis in fact, that to be a Christian, one has to ignore reason and accept the unbelievable. What many are unaware of is the numerous specific detailed and amazing prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the coming of the Messiah and that each and every one of these prophecies have been fulfilled in the life of one, namely, Jesus. The Messiah has come.

Singing >> Blessed be the Lord God Almighty who reigns for evermore.

ROBERT >> This morning let us consider just a few of the amazing predictions concerning Jesus as the Christ that we find in the Bible. Go in your Old Testaments first of all to the book of Micah, to Micah 5:2, where we read about how that the Messiah, the Christ who was to come, would be born in the city of Bethlehem. Here’s what Micah writes.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the one to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

700 years before Jesus’ birth Micah wrote this passage. And it not only predicts the Messiah’s birth, it also proclaims his deity. Did you notice how it spoke of this one who would come and rule Israel? It said that his goings forth are from old, from everlasting. Literally, the “days of eternity”. And so the Messiah is that eternal one who would come into our world.

And the prophet was very specific as to the place of Jesus’ birth. He was to be born in the little town, the small town, Bethlehem of Judah. This would distinguish his birth place from another Bethlehem in the northern part of Palestine. And so you see this very specific prophecy of this eternal one being born here on this earth in that little town of Bethlehem.

Now of course many factors could have worked against the fulfillment of this prophecy. We know that Bethlehem could have been destroyed. Bethlehem could have been abandoned or forgotten. 700 years is a long time for a small town to survive in such a troubled land as Palestine. But it still stood when it was time for that eternal one to come into the earth.

Notice also that Jesus’ earthly parents, they were residents of another city some 80 miles north of Bethlehem, the city of Nazareth. And their arrival in the nativity city was in obedience to the Roman decree which required all people to be registered in the town of their tribal ancestry. Look with me in Luke 2:1-6, where we read about this event.

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. And so all went to be registered, every one to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.”

It was no accident that Joseph was of the house of David and had then to go to enroll in the city of Bethlehem. You consider the distance to be traveled, the poverty of Joseph and Mary, this trip must have been an extreme hardship, especially for a woman so near to giving birth. Nonetheless, Jesus was born. Not in route to, but actually in the predicted city of Bethlehem. His birth was truly beyond his parents’ and his own human control. Obviously this was the result of God’s providence working out the prophecy of the Bible.

Now I want you to notice another amazing prophecy in the scriptures. This time go to Isaiah 40:3. Isaiah wrote some 750 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, and yet he tells us what’s going to happen when Jesus comes into this world. In Isaiah 40:3 we see that Jesus the Messiah would be announced by a herald. Here’s what he wrote.

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Isaiah tells us that there would be one who would prepare the way of the Lord. This herald or messenger would be from the wilderness, and he would announce to the people of Israel that the Messiah had come.

It’s interesting that most of the pretenders to messiahship which we hear about in history have been pretty much their own heralds. Normally, would-be messiahs tend to be rather insecure individuals who prefer to toot their own horns and make no room for powerful prophetic voices to lead the way, as would be the case with the Christ who would come, just as Isaiah had prophesied.

You see, Jesus had a powerful forerunner, John the baptizer. Let’s read about that in Matthew 3:1-6, where Matthew records to us this fulfillment of Isaiah’s Old Testament prophecy. Matthew chapter 3, beginning verse 1.

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’ Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. And then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.”

Here we see this messenger that Isaiah said would come and prepare the way of the Lord. He carried such an incredible anointing that people from all over Israel came out to hear him, hear him tell them that they were sinners in need of repentance.

Then there was a third prophecy from Isaiah 61:1-2. Again remember, this was hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born. But Isaiah was able by inspiration of God to look into the future to tell us about this Messiah who was to come. And here Isaiah tells us that this one would be an anointed deliverer.

Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, in the day of vengeance of our God.”

What a shock it must have been when Jesus would read this same passage from the 61st chapter of Isaiah when he came into his hometown of Nazareth in Luke chapter 4 and then apply it to himself. Read with me Luke chapter 4 beginning in verse 16.

“So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’ So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth, and they said, ‘Is this not Joseph’s son?'”

You see, through their scriptures, the Jews knew many great men who had been empowered by the Spirit of the Lord. They knew about men like Samson and David and Saul. But this empowerment had nearly always been in reference to leading Israel to victory over her enemies. And now this 30 year old son of a carpenter was declaring that the Spirit of the Lord had come upon him; not for military conquest, but for the liberation of the poor, for the brokenhearted, for those who were bound and oppressed.

And surely, as you and I are familiar with the ministry of Jesus Christ, the ministry that followed this announcement proved that this was no vain boast. In the book of Acts, Peter reminded Cornelius’s household that God “anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil,” Acts 10:38.

Still let’s take a look at another Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah who was to come. This time let’s go back to the book of Psalms.

Psalm 118:22. “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.”

Messiahs are not supposed to be rejected. They’re to be the saviors of their people. They’re to lead the way into the promised land amidst great popular acclaim. No one in Israel was looking for a king who would fail to win the hearts of the people and would end up being put to death by the very ones he had come do save.

No, such a notion was inconceivable. And for this reason the chief priests of Israel felt total confidence in the rightness of their judgment as they mocked Jesus and they told him, “Come down from the cross, and we’ll believe in you.”

What they failed to realize was that the rejection of the Messiah by Israel had been foretold long ago in the book of Psalms.

No one would have expected the Messiah to be rejected. No one would have expected the Messiah to be betrayed by one of his own company. But it had been prophesied a thousand years before. Look at Psalm 41:9.

“Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

Psalm 41:9 points to that last supper when Jesus dipped the bread and gave it to Judas Iscariot before he went out to betray him, as recorded in John 13:18-30.

But now I want you to notice the minute details of that betrayal given by Zechariah near the end of the Old Testament in Zechariah 11:12-13. Zechariah tells us details that one could have known except they were inspired by God, who could look into the future. Here’s what he says:

“Then I said to them, ‘If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.’ So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that princely price they set on me.’ So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.”

What’s this talking about? Well, this is a picture of actually what happened when Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ. We only have to go to our New Testaments in Matthew 27:3-10, where Matthew gives us the story.

Notice what Matthew records here, Matthew 27, beginning verse 3.

“Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ And they said, ‘What is that to us? You see to it!’ Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.’ And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. And therefore they field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.'”

Look at these minute details from Zechariah fulfilled here in Matthew 27:3-10. Note that there were thirty pieces of silver, not twenty-nine, that were given to Judas for his betrayal. Thirty, just as Zechariah said.

Notice they were pieces of silver, not gold or some other metal.

Notice that this money was thrown, not placed, in the house of God, not somewhere else. And for the potter’s field, just as Zechariah had prophesied many years before.

Now I also want us to notice another prediction from the book of Psalms, this time in Psalm 22, a most remarkable prediction in that it speaks of how Jesus would suffer his death to pay for the price of our sins, how that he would be crucified on a cross.

Psalm 22, let’s read together verses 12 through 18.

“Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”

You see, not only do the scriptures tell that the Messiah must die, they reveal the very method of his death, even though that method did not exist at the time the prophecy was written here in Psalm 22.

Psalm 22 is an incredible depiction of Christ’s death on the cross, being pierced in his hands and feet. What an amazing description of an agonizing death, and all the more so when we consider that David never came even remotely close to dying like that.

That Psalm was not about David and his death; no, it pointed to the greater David, Jesus Christ. There was no such thing as crucifixion in David’s day. It was invented by others hundreds of years later. But the all-knowing Holy Spirit was speaking through the mouth of his servant to show the sufferings of the one who “was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities,” (Isaiah 53:5).

But then let us note another Psalm, Psalm 16:10, because you see, the Old Testament not only speaks of the death of Christ, but it also speaks of how he was raised from the dead. Psalm 16, notice verse 10.

“For You will not leave My soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

When David wrote the Psalms, he had no idea that they would one day be a part of the infallible word of God or that he was writing about the ultimate king of Israel, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. But he wrote to express his love for the Lord and to give vent to the powerful depths of emotion that his relationship with God sometimes fostered.

And here in Psalm 16 David wrote something that even he must have failed to understand, how that his soul would not be left in Hades, how that this one would not be allowed to see corruption.

And many centuries later, on that unforgettable day when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles, Peter quoted this verse under the power of the Holy Spirit in reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Peter declared that David’s body was still dead, it was rotting in the tomb, but in fulfillment of this prophecy in Psalm 16, Jesus the Messiah had been raised from the dead, never to see decay.

Let’s remember this morning that these are just a few of the many prophecies concerning the Messiah in the scriptures, all of which are fulfilled in the one man, Jesus Christ.

For example, he was to be born of a virgin, he was to be a descendant of David, he was to be called out of Egypt, and the children of Bethlehem would be slain; he was to preach in parables, he would be spit upon and scourged, he was to be given gall and vinegar to drink; soldiers would gamble for his garments, he was to be forsaken by God, none of his bones would be broken, his side was to be pierced, he was to be buried with the rich, he would ascend into heaven and establish an everlasting kingdom.

All of these things had been laid out before in the Old Testament scriptures about that one who was to come.

And Jesus fulfilled them all.

There are more than 320 Old Testament prophecies relating to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the day of crucifixion alone, 33 distinct and separate prophecies concerning Christ were fulfilled.

The biography of Jesus was written centuries before he was ever born.

Could such prophecies have been mere coincidence? In a book called Science Speaks, Peter Stoner has calculated that the odds of any 8 prophecies having been accidentally fulfilled in the life of one man would have been 1 in 1 followed by 17 zeroes. That’s a big number.

Let’s try to understand exactly what that means. Suppose we take that many silver dollars and we scatter them across the state of Texas. They’ll cover the entire state to a depth of two feet.

Now let’s mark one of those coins with a big old X, and then let’s blindfold a man, give him a parachute, start him on a plane flying across Texas. And whenever he chooses, he can bail out, and upon landing, he picks up at random the first silver dollar his hand touches.

How likely is it that he’ll get the one marked with an X? Exactly the same odds the prophets had of writing just 8 prophecies which would have been fulfilled in the life of Jesus.

All of this spells out one inescapable truth: Jesus is the Messiah, he’s the Christ, that long-awaited savior of the world, the one that was prophesied to come.

Yes, as Christians, our faith does not rest upon some kind of blind faith; no, it rests upon a faith, a solid faith, a faith with a solid foundation, founded in the word of God. As the scripture says in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

What about you today? Do you believe it? And what are you going to do about it?

You see, if Jesus is who he claimed to be, that one that was prophesied of long ago, and we’ve already shown that he must be, because he was able to fulfill all of those prophecies, then that means there really is a savior, that one really did die for your sins, and paying that price, was raised again the third day; that he’s alive and that he’s well, and that he can take you home to heaven.

Won’t you believe it?

Won’t you trust him for that?

Turning from your sin, confessing your faith, give yourself to him in baptism, and then devote your life to him. Ever trusting Jesus, he will come someday and take you home.

We here at The Truth In Love want to help you to come to Jesus Christ, to faith in him. So let us know how we can help you towards heaven today.

Singing >> Nearer, still nearer, close to thy heart draw me, my Savior, so precious thou art. Hold me, oh, hold me close to thy breast; shelter me safe in that haven of rest. Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.

ROBERT >> I’d like to thank you for watching the program today. Our interest in our viewers with regard to our program is about eternal salvation. It’s not about money, it’s not about anything like that. We’re interested in your soul.

And the Bible says that for a person to be saved, you have to first of all believe in Jesus Christ. Not just believe in him generally, but believe that he is indeed the Son of God.

He said, “Except you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins,” (John 8:24).

But he also said that a person must repent of sins, to change your mind about your sinful past and to decide to change your action and live for God. “Except you repent, you will perish,” Jesus said in Luke 13:3.

The Bible also teaches us that in order to be saved, we have to be willing to verbally confess to others our faith in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote to the Romans in Romans 10:10 that “confession is made unto salvation.”

But even that’s not enough, because the Bible also teaches that a person must be immersed in water to have their sins washed away by the blood of Christ.

Peter said on the day of Pentecost to those who asked what they must do to be saved, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” (Acts 2:38).

Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16). When a person does that, they don’t earn their salvation. That’s just the moment at which the blood of Christ washes sins.

Revelation 1:5 tells us that it is the blood of Jesus that washes away our sins.

Acts 22:16 tells us when the blood washes. “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

I hope you’ll study these things for yourself to see if these things be so, and I hope and pray that if you’ve not obeyed the gospel that you will before it’s eternally too late.

If you have any questions, comments or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like more information about the lesson today or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write us here at The Truth In Love or e-mail us. You may call our toll-free number or visit our web site. You’ll see the information on the screen. All of our materials and services are absolutely free of charge.

We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING >> The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord lift his countenance upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and be gracious; the Lord be gracious, gracious unto you. Amen, amen, amen, amen. [end]

 

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1439 Grace, Faith, Works, And Salvation

Transcript:

ROBERT >> This morning I want us all to take a little test on grace, faith, works, and salvation. Don’t worry, it’s a multiple choice.

Which one or ones would you check? Grace equals salvation, faith equals salvation, works equals salvation, grace plus faith equals salvation, grace plus faith plus works equals salvation, none of the above, all of the above?

I know it’s easy to get confused, and even the Bible seems to contradict itself. For example, when you read in Ephesians 2 and Romans 4 that salvation is not by works and then you read in James chapter 2 that it is by works, you may wonder, what is the Biblical doctrine concerning grace, faith, works, and salvation? This is an eternally important question because we’re talking about salvation.

SINGING>> Blessed be the Lord God Almighty who reigns for evermore.

ROBERT >> This morning I want us to consider three things that will help us to sort all this out about grace, faith, works, and salvation. First of all, let’s notice that the popular doctrines of salvation by grace only and faith only are not found in the Bible.

Now that may surprise some of you, but let’s see what the Bible says. Certainly the Bible teaches we are saved by grace. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:5 and Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are you saved through faith.” Titus 2:11 reminds us that, “The grace of God has appeared unto all men, bringing salvation.”

And by the way, there’s evidence there that we’re not saved by grace only, else everybody would be saved, because “the grace of God has appeared unto all men, bringing salvation.”

We can look in Acts 15:11 and Romans 3:24, and we can see the importance, the necessity of grace in our salvation. Grace means that God gives us what we do not deserve. As Paul said in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Yes, without the grace of God, we would all be lost in our sins.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost but now am found; was blind, but now I see.” But nowhere does the Bible teach we are saved by grace only.

Certainly the Bible teaches we’re saved by faith. We again look in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are you saved through faith.” And the Hebrew writer tells us in chapter 11 and verse 6 that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” We must “believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”

You can look in 2 Timothy 3:15, in 1 Peter 1:5 and 9. All of these emphasize the essentiality of faith, of belief in our salvation. You might remember these words of Jesus in Mark 16:16, where he said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved; he that disbelieves will be condemned”; or the words of the apostle Paul to that Roman guard in Acts 16:31, where he told him, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved”; or Romans 1:16, how “the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes”; or Romans 10:9-10, how we must “believe in our heart unto righteousness”; or in 1 Corinthians 1:21, 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

If we do not believe in Jesus, we will die in our sins. Hear his words in John 8:24: “Unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” But nowhere does the Bible teach we are saved by faith only.

Think about it. If we are saved by grace only, then we cannot be saved by faith. And if we are saved by faith only, then we cannot be saved by grace. The truth is that we are saved by both grace and faith.

In fact, there are many things that save us. Jesus saves us. Matthew 1:21, when he was to be born into this world, it is said that, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.” He himself said in Luke 19:10, “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a good and faithful saying”, Christ Jesus saves us. He’s our savior.

The longsuffering of our Lord saves us according to 2 Peter 3:15.

Sanctification by the Spirit, the renewal of the Holy Spirit saves us according to 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and Titus 3:5.

The gospel message, the word saves us, Romans 1:16, the gospel, “the power of God to salvation”.

James 1:21, the word, that implanted word which is able to save our souls. Read Acts 11:14, 1 Corinthians 1:21, 2 Timothy 3:15.

All of these emphasize how that the gospel, the word of God saves our soul. But notice also that there are other things that save us. How that “calling on the name of the Lord” saves us in Acts 2:21. In Romans 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Belief and confession save us, Romans 10:9-10.

Godly sorrow and repentance save us according to 2 Corinthians 7:10.

Belief and baptism saves us according to Mark 16:16. Baptism saves us according to 1 Peter 3:21.

A wife might save her husband, a husband might save his wife according to 1 Corinthians 7:16. Paul was talking about the influence that they may have on them for Christ.

The apostle Paul saved some, according to 1 Corinthians 9:22. He did everything that he “might save some”.

Timothy himself could be saved AND those who heard him if he was diligent as a preacher, according to 1 Timothy 4:16.

Even affliction and comfort are necessary for our salvation according to 2 Corinthians 1:6.

Endurance saves us, Romans 10:22.

Hope saves us, Romans 8:24.

Works save us, Philippians 2:12, James 2:24.

Do we not see that there are many things that are involved in the salvation of our souls? So no, we’re not saved by grace only or by faith only. There are many different things that save us.

Now let’s know secondly this morning that the Bible speaks of several different kinds of works. You see, there are works that are done in an attempt to earn or to merit salvation. But the only thing that can pay for our sins is the sacrifice of Jesus. Such works cannot save us without the sacrifice of Jesus.

You look in Ephesians chapter 2, and you see the emphasis on the fact that it was God’s mercy, God’s grace. It’s what God provided through Jesus Christ that enables us to be saved. Titus 2:3-7, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done.” You see, it’s according to God’s grace. It involved the sacrifice of Christ. God’s grace is the source, it’s the basis, it’s the grounds of our salvation.

All of our works could never pay for even one sin. Only the sacrifice of Christ could pay for our sins.

Notice also that there are works of the law of Moses. This law was given to the Jewish nation, but never to any other nation. It showed them that they were sinners in need of a savior, because every one of them transgressed, fell under its condemnation, save the Lord Jesus Christ. You see, the law of Moses cannot save; it only points us to the savior, Jesus Christ.

Look with me if you will for just a moment in Romans chapter 3 and Romans chapter 4. The apostle Paul was showing that Gentiles had fallen into sin, and thus God gave them up, that they needed a savior; but he also points out how that the Jews needed a savior as well, having fallen under the condemnation of the law.

Notice here in Romans 3:19, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God; therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

What the law showed the Jewish people is that they were sinners in need of a savior.

Look at it a little bit further as you go on in Romans chapter 3, beginning in verse 21. “But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

So how can we be made right with God? Not through the law, but through that one that the law pointed to, Jesus Christ. Notice Romans 3:28, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”

The problem is that the Jews tried to earn their salvation by the works of the law instead of trusting God for it. Look with me in Romans 9:32, where the apostle Paul really brings this together, I think. He says, “Why is it?” Why is it that Israel keeps pursuing the law of righteousness and hasn’t attained that law? How come they can’t ever get right with God? Why? “Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were by the works of the law; for they stumbled at the stumbling stone.” They failed to realize their need for the savior, Jesus Christ, that they could never earn or merit their salvation.

So the Bible speaks of works of merit, and it speaks of those works that were done under the law. But the Bible also speaks of the works of faith, 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:11.

In both of these letters the apostle Paul commended the church at Thessalonica for their works of faith. This is the obedience that comes from a heart of faith. Trusting not in one’s perfect performance of keeping God’s word, but in Christ for salvation.

Let’s look at this in Romans the 4th chapter. Notice verse 11 and verse 12. “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also; and the father of circumcision to those who are not only of the circumcision, but also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.”

Do you see something here? Do you see that Abraham was the father of all those who believe, of those who also walk in the steps of the faith? So you see, true saving Biblical faith is a faith that obeys, it’s a faith that walks, it’s a faith that works.

In fact, Romans begins in Romans 1:5 speaking of “the obedience of faith”, and the book ends in Romans 16:26 speaking of “the obedience of faith”.

In Galatians 5:6, the apostle Paul spoke of what really is effective for salvation. What is it that avails for salvation? Was it circumcision? Was it keeping of the law? Could we earn it? Could we merit it? No. He said it was “faith working through love”.

Philippians 2:12, he tells the church there, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” And look at it in James chapter 2 as James addresses this same subject and he speaks of this same work of faith, the obedience of faith and how important it is to our salvation.

James chapter 2 beginning in verse 14, he asked this question: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can faith save him?” Well, the obvious answer is that it doesn’t profit him anything to have faith without works. That kind of faith does not save.

Notice what he says in verse 17. “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” “Faith without works is dead,” as it goes on to conclude in verse 26 of this chapter.

Notice also verse 22. “Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” Complete faith, perfect faith, the faith that saves is a faith that works.

In verse 24 he makes this statement: “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.” Read Acts 20:21. Look at Romans 6:17-18 where he talks about the obedience of faith from the heart; in Romans 10:9-10, how that we must believe in our heart unto righteousness; and Galatians 3:26-27, how that we’re “sons of God through faith” when we’re “baptized into Christ”; Ephesians 3:10, how that we’ve been “created in Christ Jesus unto good works”; or Colossians 2:12, how that we’re “raised out of the waters of baptism,” notice this, “through faith in the working of God”.

Baptism is just an act of faith where we’re trusting God to raise us up a new creation. Titus 2:11-14, how, “The grace of God teaches us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world.” Grace teaches us to be obedient to God.

Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 6:10 emphasizes the importance of working obedient faith. And so we see how that we must trust God enough to do what he says to do in order to be saved.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that says unto Me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” “Why call Me ‘Lord, Lord,'” he says, “and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Yes, Jesus is “the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him,” Hebrews 5:8-9.

No, we’re not saved by grace only, we’re not saved by faith only. There are many things that save us.

We are saved by works, not the works of merit, not the works of the law, no, but we are saved by the works of faith when we trust the Lord enough to do what he’s told us to do in order that we might be saved.

But let’s notice this last point today. According to the Bible, works of faith are necessary for salvation. You see, grace is God’s initiative. He loved us, and he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love Him because He first loved us.” “God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us,” Romans 5:8.

You see, before we asked, before we did anything, “from the foundation of the world” Christ was “slain for the sins of all,” 1 Peter 1:18-20.

Revelation 13:8. John 1:29, when John the Baptizer saw Jesus Christ, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world.” He knew that was God’s plan, that was God’s purpose, that God in his grace would provide the sacrifice of Jesus to pay for our sins.

1 Timothy 2:6, 1 John 2:2, “Jesus Christ is the propitiation,” that atoning sacrifice for our sins; “and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world.” You see, we cannot obtain salvation on our own without Jesus Christ.

He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes unto the Father but by Me.” “There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.

But notice, faith is man’s response. We believe, we trust with our hearts, with our whole lives the one who loves us so. That involves a decision of faith. The Bible calls it repentance, how that we must “repent and turn again, that their sins might be blotted out, that “times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” Acts 3:19; how that “godly sorrow produces repentance, that leads to salvation,” 2 Corinthians 7:10.

We must make that decision to repent. That means to turn from sin, to live for God. “Unless you repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” Luke 13:3.

It also includes a declaration of faith. The Bible calls it confession. Before Philip would baptize the Ethiopian in Acts 8:37, he said, “If you believe, you may.” He said, “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” And upon that confession, they both went down in the water, and he baptized him.

You see, there must be that declaration of faith, because, “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation”; “with the heart man believes unto righteousness,” Romans 10:9-10.

One must declare faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Lord, the savior of the world, the Son of God. And Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him will I confess before My Father who is in heaven; whoever denies Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father who is in heaven,” Matthew 10:32-33.

So there must be that decision of faith, that repentance in our heart. There must be that declaration of faith declaring our faith in Jesus Christ; but there must also be a demonstration of faith, baptism.

“He that believes and is baptized will be saved,” Jesus said in Mark 16:16. “Repent and be baptized” “for the remission of sins,” Acts 2:38. “Baptism also saves us,” 1 Peter 3:21.

Baptism’s not a work of merit. It’s not a work of the law of Moses. It’s an act of faith and obedience to the gospel of Christ. “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” Acts 22:16.

Read Romans 6 and Galatians 3 and Colossians 2, where it describes baptism as putting us “into Christ” and “burying” us with Christ and “raising us” with Christ.

In baptism we’re “united with Christ,” we’re “added to his church” with all the saved, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Acts 2:47.

You’ve got to be baptized. You’ve got to be “born again of water and the Spirit,” as Jesus said in John 3:5. But it’s just the beginning of the new life. You see, finally it calls for a devotion of faith, a life of faith.

Paul put it like this: “I’ve been crucified with Christ, and it’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life that I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Paul was living by faith because he knew that that’s what the Lord wanted of him. Hebrews 12:1-2, “Seeing we’re compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that’s set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Yes, it’s trusting in Jesus Christ, never giving up on Christ, always looking to Jesus Christ that he’ll bring us home.

2 Timothy 4:7-8, I see the apostle Paul in his old age writing these last words to the young preacher Timothy, reminding him of how his departure was at hand, how that he had “fought the good fight,” how he had “kept the faith,” how he had “finished the course”. It was keeping faith with Jesus Christ that he could go on to say, “There’s laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me in that day; and not to me only, but to all those who have loved His appearing.”

Yes, we must strive to glorify God in all things, to keep his commandments, trusting him for salvation until Jesus returns.

Oh, how sad it will be for some who, “having known the truth”, continue to “sin willfully”, “turning their backs” on Jesus, “trodding under foot the Son of God”, “insulting the Spirit of grace”, “counting the blood of the covenant an unholy thing”, as the Hebrew writer says in Hebrews 10:26-31. “These,” he says, fall “into the hands of the living God.”

You can be saved by grace through faith when you make that decision to turn away from your sin to live for God, when you declare your faith if Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and you give yourself to him in the waters of baptism, and being raised to walk in newness of life you keep faith with Jesus. “This is good, acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” 1 Timothy 2:3-4.

Won’t you be saved by grace through faith?

Won’t you let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today?

SINGING >> Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you, Lord. I choose to be holy, set apart for you, my master, ready to do your will. Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you, Lord. I choose to be holy, set apart for you, my master, ready to do your will. Lord, I’m ready to do your will.

ROBERT >> Thank you for watching our program today. We’ve but one goal, to help us all towards heaven. This is the mission God has given us to, to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ, baptizing them, teaching them, Matthew 28:19.

We know that the gospel of Christ is God’s power unto salvation, Romans 1:16. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by Me,” John 14:6. Yes, “there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12. And therefore, like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “We seek to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Unlike so many other religious television programs, we’re not going to ask for any money. Everything’s provided by churches of Christ and individual Christians who support us so that we can bring it to you absolutely free of charge. So feel free to let us know if you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, whatever you need, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas, 76053. You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv, or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966. And also please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Again, remember that you’ll never have to pay for any of our materials and services.

We want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program. And let me also encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of the program. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING >> The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord lift his countenance upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and be gracious; the Lord be gracious, gracious unto you. Amen, amen, amen, amen. [end]

 

 Related Lessons You Might Like:

 

1438 How To Tell If Your Church Is Real

Other Lessons You Might Like:

Is One Church As Good As Another? Part 1: Baptism

Is One Church As Good As Another? Part 2: Church

Is One Church As Good As Another? Part 3:Worship

Transcript

ROBERT>> Have you ever bought a knockoff? I’m sure you ladies know what I’m talking about. Maybe some of you have shopped at Sam Moon and you purchased one of those cheap designer knockoff purses.  It’s not the real thing, but it looks a whole lot like it.

One lady said, I hate those Coach knockoff purses with the little G’s on them instead of little C’s.  Whether it’s a Coach purse or a Rolex watch or an Apple iPad, knockoffs look a whole lot like the original designer brand, but they’re cheap imitations, fakes.

I guess that’s okay if you’re buying a purse and you want to save some money.  But what about when it comes to the church?  Does it matter if it’s just a knockoff?  What if the church you go to is not the real thing?  What if it’s just a cheap imitation? And how can you tell the difference?

Singing>> Blessed be the Lord God Almighty, who reigns for evermore.

ROBERT>> Today I want us to consider the difference between the original designer brand, the church you read about in the Bible, and the many knockoffs in the religious world today. I want to give us five important questions to consider in order to help us identify the real thing.

First of all, let’s ask who made it.  You know, you can tell a knockoff or the real thing by just finding out who made it.  Was it made by Coach, was it made by Rolex, was it made by Apple, or was it made by some other unknown company in China?

A church is not the real thing unless it is made by Christ.  Notice in the Bible in Matthew 16:18 when Jesus spoke to his disciples about the church, he said, Upon this rock I’ll build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Nothing was going to keep Jesus Christ from building his church, not even the powers of hell.  And he would build that church upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:11, the apostle Paul said, There is no other foundation which can be laid than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus.  Jesus Christ is the builder of the church, and Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church.  And it cost him a lot.

It did not come cheap.  In Acts 20:28, we read about the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood.  In order for Christ to build his church, he had to pay the ultimate price.  He had to go to the cross of Calvary and there shed his blood as payment for our sins.

Peter reminds us of how we’ve been redeemed, we’ve been bought back, we’ve been purchased, not with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot or blemish.  Yes, it cost Jesus Christ the blood that he shed at Calvary to pay for our sins to build his church.  And that’s why he loves it so much.

Christ loved the church and gave himself for it, the Bible says in Ephesians 5:25.  Not just any church will do.  If you want the real thing, you need to look for that church that was made by Jesus Christ, who said he would build it, that it’s built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. It’s those who’ve been redeemed by the blood of Christ, that church that he loves so very much.

And now secondly let’s ask today, what is it made of? What’s it made of?  Another way to tell the difference between a knockoff and the real thing is by what it’s made of.  You see, the knockoff will often use cheaper and poorer quality products, but the real thing always has the better materials.

And a church is not the real thing unless it’s made of the saved.  You see, the church is made of those who’ve been saved, redeemed, bought back, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Let’s go to 1 Peter chapter 2, and I want to read with you some verses here where Peter describes the church so we can see what the church is really made of. Notice in verse 4, “Coming to him,” that is, coming to Christ, “as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also as living stones are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

When Peter describes the church, he doesn’t speak of brick and mortar, no, he’s not talking about a building, a physical building; but he’s talking about a spiritual house. And he says that spiritual house is made up of those who, coming to Christ, are built up, lively stones, living stones.

Each of us is like a living stone in this spiritual house, the Christians, those who have been redeemed, those who have come to Jesus Christ.  Look at it in verse 9 and verse 10 of 1 Peter 2.  “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people; that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people, but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

You see, the church as Peter saw it were those special people of God. These were those who had been called out of darkness, called by the gospel into God’s marvelous light. You see, these are those who’ve been taken out of the world and put into Christ and his church. These are those who were once not a people, but now are the people of God, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. It’s the saved. The saved are those who make up the real thing.  It’s the saved that were added to the church by the Lord.

Notice how this is put by Luke in Acts 2:47.  If you’ll turn back over there, you’ll see that we read about the beginning of the church, the church you read about in the Bible, the original designer brand.  Look in Acts chapter 2, the very last verse, verse 47.  We see that the church here was “praising God and having favor with all the people; and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

Did you catch that?  How that the Lord added some to the church?  But who was it that he added to the church?  The Lord added those who were being saved to the church.  That’s who the church is made of.

You go back to Acts chapter 2, and we’ll see how they were saved that day so we can be a part of that same church, and the Lord will add us to it.  Notice in Acts chapter 2 beginning in verse 22, Peter begins to tell them about Jesus Christ, that he was the one God chose to save us from our sins.  He’s the Christ.  He is the Son of God.  And how that he died for our sins.  And not only how that he died, but how that he was buried.  And not only how that he was buried, but how that he was raised to live again; how the apostles were witnesses to that fact, and how that he had ascended into heaven, that he was now sitting at God’s right hand.

You see, Jesus Christ came to this earth.  God came in the flesh.  He became one of us, he suffered, and having lived a perfect life, he died at Calvary as an offering for our sins.  But God did not leave him in the tomb; he raised him up to give us the hope, the assurance of eternal life.

When this was proclaimed to these people here in Jerusalem, they realized that they had put to death their Messiah, their deliverer, their savior; that Jesus was not an ordinary man, that he was God come in the flesh; that he had paid the price for their sins.

You might remember it wasn’t too long before this that they had been crying in the streets, “Crucify him! Crucify him! Let his blood be upon us and upon our children.”  But now they realize that he was the Christ, the Son of God.

Notice Acts 2:36, as Peter comes to the end of his sermon, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.” Yes, the one that they had put to death was their savior.

Realizing that, notice what the Bible says in verse 37. “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.'”

Peter told them they needed to turn away from their sins and to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ upon their confession of him as the Son of God for the remission of their sins, and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Now, this is a promise that is for all who are called by God through the gospel.  And there were many who answered that call that day.

Notice here in verse 41, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” When the gospel was preached in its fulfillment, how that Christ died, how he was buried, how he was raised, and when men responded to that, having turned away from their sin and given themselves to Christ in baptism, trusting him for their salvation, God added them to his church. And every day since, God is adding those who are being saved to his church.

Let’s notice this morning that when we are baptized in obedience to the gospel, that we are baptized into Christ, into communion, into fellowship with Jesus Christ. In Romans 6:3, Paul reminded the Romans of how they’d been “baptized into Christ Jesus”.  And in Galatians 3:26-27, how that they “became sons of God through faith,” having been “baptized into Christ” and “putting on Christ”.  It’s that same act of baptism that puts us into Christ that also puts us into his body, the church.

You see, you can’t separate Christ from his body, the church.  Look how the apostle Paul describes this in Ephesians 1:22-23.  Here he says, “And He,” that is, God, “put all things under His feet,” that is, Christ’s feet; “and gave Him, Christ, to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

So Christ is head over all things to the church, which is his body.  Christ is the head, the church is his spiritual body.  And when we’re baptized into Christ, we’re baptized into his church, his spiritual body. This is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit are you all baptized into one body.”  That’s the church. You see, the real thing is made of the saved people of God.

Now let’s ask another question.  Whose name is on it?  One of the quickest ways to determine if something is a knockoff is just to check the name on it.  Imitations cannot legally use the name of the original designer.  Those names matter, because they’re prestigious and valuable.  And a church is not the real thing unless it has Christ’s name on it.

Did you know the Bible speaks of “the church of God” in Acts 20:28, “the body of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 12:27, “the house of God, which is the church of the living God” in 1 Timothy 3:15?  It’s described in many various ways, but you see how it’s associated with the Lord, with God, with Jesus Christ.

Look at the various congregations you read about in the New Testament that are a part of that great church.  The various congregations are identified as the “churches of Christ”.  In Romans 16:16, the Bible says, “The churches of Christ greet you.”  All of these various congregations that were meeting together, you see, were a part of God’s great church.  They belong to him.  They belong to Jesus Christ.

But there is a proper name, a name given to the members of the church, an exclusive name, and that name is “Christian”. It’s used three times in the New Testament.  One in Acts 11:26, where we find, “The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch”; in Acts 20:28, where King Agrippa said to the apostle Paul, “Almost you persuade me to become a Christian”; and in 1 Peter 4:16, where Peter reminds us, “If anyone suffers”, to suffer as a Christian, and “glorify God in this name”.

So you see this name given to the people of God, oh, they’re described in many other ways, but this is the only name that they were to wear.  It was the name that God gave to the disciples.  It’s what we’re trying to get people to become through the gospel of Jesus Christ, Christians. It’s the name that we wear.  It’s the name in which we suffer for the cause of Christ, the name Christian, because it means we belong to him, we want to bring glory and honor to his name.


Now all of this is a fulfillment of prophecy.  Let’s go back to the book of Isaiah, and I want you to notice several prophecies here as Isaiah looks ahead into the future when Christ would build his church.  In Isaiah 56:5 he says, “Even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I’ll give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”  So there was a new name that God would give his people, an everlasting name.

Look at it in Isaiah 62:2.  Notice here in this chapter what he says about this name. “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. And you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name.” Now what’s interesting about this passage is it tells us first the Gentiles would see the righteousness of God.  That’s what happened in Antioch.  The disciples were called first in Antioch, we noticed in Acts 11:26.

There was the first Gentile congregation that you read about in the New Testament.  And that’s when God gave his name, this name, to his people.

Look at Isaiah 65:15.  Notice here, “You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen; for the Lord God will slay you, and call His servants by another name.”  As we’ve seen, that other name is “Christian”.  The name that God’s people wear is the name of Christ, the name Christian, because it’s in that name that we can all be united together.

Let’s notice how that other names are divisive and how they fail to honor Jesus Christ.  In 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, the apostle Paul pleads with the church there, “Let there be no divisions among you.”  He goes on to talk about how that some are saying “I am of Paul, and I am of Cephas, and I of Christ”.  He says, “Is Christ divided?  Was Paul crucified for you?  Were you baptized into the name of Paul?”

You see, they had formed different groups and rallied around different names.  Some said “I am of Paul”, some said “I am of Cephas”, some said “I am of Apollos”, some said “I am of Christ”. But those names were divisive.

You see, Christ is not divided.  It was not Paul who was crucified for us; it was Christ.  We’re not baptized in the name of Paul; we’re baptized into the name of Christ.  That name matters.

Peter said in Acts 4:12, “There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”  Salvation is found only in the name of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; and no one comes unto the Father but by Me,” (John 14:6).  So the real thing, it’s got the name of Christ on it.

But also let’s ask this question: Who’s in control of it?  You know, a knockoff might be under the control of anybody, anywhere; but you know who is in control of the real thing.  And the church is not the real thing unless Jesus Christ is in control of it.

You remember Jesus Christ is “head over all things to the church”.  We read that in Ephesians 1:22. He has “all authority in heaven and on earth”, (Matthew 28:18). God has not left the authority of the church to reside in any man or any group of men, but he has placed it in the head of the church, Jesus Christ.

That being so, the headquarters of the church is not somewhere on this earth.  The headquarters of the church is in heaven where the head resides.  In Acts 2:22-36, we looked there earlier, how that Christ had been raised and how that he ascended on high, how that he now sits at the right hand of the throne of God.  There’s the headquarters of the church. You see, the real thing, the church you read about in the Bible, that original designer brand, is controlled by Jesus Christ.

But finally let’s ask this question: What writings come with it?  What writings come with the church that you belong to?  You know how important this is when it comes to buying products.  You’re not going to get the same instructions, the same warranties and other information with a knockoff that you’ll get with the real thing.  And a church is not the real thing unless it comes with the writings of the Bible.

You see, it’s the writings of the Bible that God has given to his church.  This is our manual.  This is our creed.  This is where we go for our instructions and our directions, for our authority in all that we say and do.  I read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 how that “all scripture is inspired of God.  It’s profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.”

You see, God has revealed to us his will for the church.  We have all we need right here in the Bible.  We don’t need another book.  We don’t need another revelation. No, God has given us the inspired scriptures.  If you want to be a part of the real thing, then you need to find a church where they take the Bible and the Bible only as their guide, because this is what God has given to us.

And this word was delivered one time for all time.  Jude 3 tells us to, “Contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.” God is not going to reveal his message for us today.  He’s already done that one time, for all time.  And so we need to go to the book.  This is the basis of our faith.

As Paul said in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Yes, it’s the word of God that produces the faith that enables us to have access to Jesus Christ and access into his church.

The real thing comes with the writings of the Bible.  This is what shows us how to live, how to worship.  This is how we find out what God wants for us in his church today.  So I want to ask you this morning, the church that you go to, is it a knockoff or the real thing?

You don’t have to settle for a knockoff.  Christ paid for the real thing.  He offers it to all of us.  We just have to take it.  Won’t you do that if you have not already? Won’t you look for that church?  Not the church of your choice, but won’t you look for that church that Jesus Christ built?  He said, “I’ll build my church”.  Won’t you look for that church that’s built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ?

Look for that church who wears the name of Christ, not the name of some other man or of some doctrine or some practice, but one that gives glory and honor to Jesus Christ.

Look for that church of which Jesus Christ is head, that he controls, that church that looks to the Bible, the word of God for everything.  Finding that church, why not become a part of it?

Some of you may have been Christians and may have come into Christ’s church, and for whatever reason have left the Lord Jesus Christ, you’ve left his people.  You need to come back.  You see, now the door is still open.  You have opportunity.  And we here at The Truth In Love, we want to help you.  And so won’t you let us know this morning, whoever you are, whatever you need, how we can help you towards heaven today?

Singing>> Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you, Lord.  I choose to be holy, set apart for you, my master, ready to do your will.  Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you, Lord.  I choose to be holy, set apart for you, my master, ready to do your will.  Lord, I’m ready to do your will.

Singing>> Nearer, still nearer, close to thy heart draw me, my Savior, so precious thou art.  Hold me, oh, hold me close to thy breast; shelter me safe in that haven of rest.  Shelter me safe in that haven of rest.

ROBERT>>  I want to thank you for watching our program today, and we would really like to hear from you.  If you have any questions, comments or requests, if you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas, 76053.  You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.  And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

All of our materials and services are absolutely free of charge.  And we want to thank the many Churches of Christ who help support this program and encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of our program.  We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven.  So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

Singing>> The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord lift his countenance upon you, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace, and give you peace; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and be gracious; the Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.  Amen, amen, amen, amen.

 

1437 Portraits Of Christ, Part 2

Related posts you might enjoy:

Potraits Of Christ, Part 1

Jesus Is Coming Again, Part 1

Jesus Is Coming Again, Part 2

Is Growth In Christ Important?

Transcript:

[Free Download: TIL1437]

Good morning. I’m so glad that you’ve joined us here on The Truth In Love.

Perhaps you’ve visited in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and you’ve seen the great statue of Jesus Christ, or maybe you’ve visited the art gallery nearby and seen the many portraits of Christ there.

More

Well, in the Bible there’s even a more revealing and moving portrait of Christ. So I hope you’ll stay tuned as we come back and we look more closely at who Jesus really is.

>> (Singing)

Last week in our study of Revelation chapter 1 we saw these revealing and moving portraits of Christ. We saw him as the revealer.

Revelation 1:1, the Bible says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”. Jesus Christ is the source of revelation. He says that God gave him to show his servants things “which must shortly take place, and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John”.

So God gave the message to Jesus then, who through his angels delivered this to John so he could deliver it to the church. But Jesus Christ is that revealer, that revealer of truth, that revealer of the message of the gospel by which we might be saved.

Not only is Jesus Christ portrayed in this chapter as the great revealer, but he’s also described in verse 5 as the firstborn from the dead. He is the preeminent one from the dead. That’s the idea of firstborn, that he is preeminent because he was the first one to be raised from the dead to never die again. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we can be raised. His resurrection gives us the hope and the assurance of eternal life. And so he is the revealer, he is the preeminent one.

He is also the faithful witness, verse 5 tells us. The faithful martyr, more literally. Jesus died for our sins. Faithful to God, he fulfilled his role, his purpose. He became the savior of the world. We can depend upon him, we can rely upon him. He was one who was faithful to God in every way, a faithful witness to the truth of God and the power of the gospel.

But he is also the ruler of the kings of the earth, Revelation 1:5 tells us. The ruler of the kings of the earth. The King of kings, the Lord of lords.
Jesus Christ, after his resurrection, ascended into the heavens and now sits at God’s right hand. He has been placed above all powers, all dominions, all authorities; and each and every day God is placing the enemies of Christ under his feet until that last enemy, death, is destroyed, when Jesus comes again and all are raised up to stand before him. He is the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Already we have got a good picture of who Jesus is and the significant, important role that he played in our salvation as our wonderful savior. But I want us to continue this morning to take a look at some of the other portraits of Christ that are given here in Revelation chapter 1.

The first of these is in verse 6. Let’s read it together. “And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever, amen.” You see, Jesus Christ is the maker of kings and priests. Those who are saved by the blood of Jesus become kings in his kingdom.

The apostle Paul described our salvation this way in Colossians 1:13 when he said that we’re translated out of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. You see, we were in sin, we were in darkness, we were lost in this world; but by the power of the gospel and in our obedience to it, our sins were forgiven. We became kings in his kingdom. We’re royalty because of our relationship to the king. Because he is the king, and now we belong to him, we’re a part of his family, we’re kings in his kingdom. His kingdom is a spiritual house, not only in which we are kings, but we serve as priests who offer spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ.

That’s what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:5. “You are lively stones, built up a spiritual house.” In other words, the Christians are what make up the house of God. It’s not a physical, material, earthly house made of brick and mortar and such things, but it’s made up of Christians, those who’ve been saved by the blood of Jesus. And not only are they that spiritual house, but he says you are a holy priesthood who offer up spiritual sacrifices to God acceptably through Jesus Christ.

You see, because of Jesus Christ we have access to the very throne of God, to pray to God, to offer praise to God. And as we live our lives before God, it is in service unto him each and every day. And thus we are a royal priesthood, a kingly priesthood, his own special people, 1 Peter 2:9. Yes, Jesus is a maker of kings and priests. And recognizing Jesus as the maker of kings and priests, we should honor him, we should glorify him with our very lives. Romans 12:1-2, the apostle Paul pleads with every Christian. He said, “I beseech you by the mercies of God.”

In view of all that God has done for us, how merciful he’s been to us, not condemning us when he could have because of our sins, but finding a way to save us through Jesus Christ, he showed his grace towards us. Paul says “I beseech you,” I beg with you, I plead with you by the mercies of God, what? “That you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” You see, what else can we do but to give our lives to the one who gave himself for us? That’s reasonable.

“And do not be conformed to this world,” Paul went on to say. Don’t let this world press you into its mold. But he said you “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Every day then we offer our bodies upon the altar of God’s service.

We do that because he gave himself for us. And we strive to not let this world shape our thinking, shape our lives, but we turn our minds and our hearts over to God and seek to do his will, to please him in everything. Let me read this passage to you from 1 Peter 4:14-16 that reminds us of our responsibility, our privilege to bring glory and honor to God in our lives each and every day.
Here’s what Peter says, 1 Peter chapter 4, beginning in verse 14. “If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.” Yes, God deserves our honor and our glory. Let us live lives that truly will lift him up before others.

That one, Jesus Christ, is a maker of kings and priests in his kingdom. But there is another thing I want you to see about Jesus this morning from Revelation chapter 1. Notice with me verse 7. Here’s what the Bible says. “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, amen.” He is coming, the Bible says. Jesus Christ is the coming one.

You might remember how Jesus promised his disciples he would come again. In John chapter 14, before going to the cross, he wanted to encourage them, and he used these words. He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. For I go and prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

What a wonderful promise Jesus gave his disciples. He said don’t be troubled, don’t be upset when you see me go to the cross, when you see them put those nails in my hands and my feet; because you see, he’s preparing a place for us. In his death, he paid the price for our sins. There, our sins were redeemed, they were atoned for so that God could look upon us with forgiveness and save our souls.

Thank God that Jesus Christ would die for us, give himself on our behalf, and then be raised up from the dead to ascend into heaven, to sit at God’s right hand, to pour out the power of his Holy Spirit, to reveal that good news of salvation through Jesus Christ beginning in Jerusalem and going into all the world. And as it continues to be preached today as we are trying to present this message on the air this morning, we need to remember that Jesus promised that as he went and prepared a place for us, so he’s going to come again. He’s going to take us home to be with him, those of us who put our trust in him, who are looking for him to come. But remember that nobody knows when that day will be. No one knows when. So we must always be prepared at any time. He’s going to come suddenly, he’s going to come unexpectedly.

I want to read the words of Jesus from Matthew 24:36. Here he speaks of that time when he’ll come back for us. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven; but my Father only.” Listen, anyone who tells you that they know when Jesus is coming again, that person really doesn’t know. Jesus tells us that no one knows when. But the implication is that we must always be ready and prepared for that day.

In fact, if you read on here in Matthew 24, you’ll see it’ll be like during the days of Noah. Here’s what he says. “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away; so also will the coming of the son of man be.” In the days of Noah, Noah building that ark, he was preparing for him and his family. But the others, they made no preparations. And when it came suddenly, when it came unexpectedly, they found themselves unprepared and left out and lost. We don’t want that to happen to us when Jesus comes again.

He’s made a way for us through his death at Calvary, through his resurrection. And so we need to be ready and prepared for that day. You know something else about the coming of Jesus that is so often misunderstood is what Jesus said here again in Revelation 1:7, that when he comes, every eye will see him. 

There is nothing in the Bible about a secret rapture. But in fact, it will be a noisy day when Jesus comes to raise his own and to take us home. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 tells us that “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and the trump of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. And then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” It will be a grand day for those who are ready for Jesus Christ.

It’ll be a noisy day. We’ll see him. We’ll be with him. But on that same day he will take vengeance on “them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,” according to 2 Thessalonians 1:8. The promise of Jesus coming is at once the Christian’s hope and the sinner’s doom. John 5:28-29, Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this. The hour is coming in which all that are in their graves shall hear His voice; those that have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”

Jesus is coming. Recognizing that ought to cause us all to long for that day when we’ll see Jesus and to live our lives in such a way that we will be ready to meet the Lord. Because you see, each one of us shall “give account of himself unto God,” Romans 14:12. In fact, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the things done in the body, whether it be good or bad,” 2 Corinthians 5:10. Yes, Jesus is the maker of kings and priests, and Jesus Christ is the coming one, coming to take his own home to be with him for eternity.

But I want you to notice a final thing this morning in Revelation chapter 1, this time in verse 13. Here’s what the Bible says: “And in the midst of the seven lampstands, One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters. He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, Do not be afraid; I am the First, I am the Last.”

What we see in this powerful, awesome picture of Jesus Christ is one in the midst of the seven lampstands. Now, the seven lampstands represent the seven churches of Asia (as we read in Revelation 1:20), which really represent all of God’s people. So what do we find? The message is clear.

Christ is present among his people. What a great lesson for us to learn as the people of God – that “where two or three are gathered together in his name, there [Christ] is in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:20 – that Jesus is not withdrawn from us, he’s not aloof from the affairs of his people – that he is vitally interested in their welfare. He cares about us. He’s watching over us. He is among us to strengthen us, to encourage us, to help us, to protect us, to deliver us.

Christ is in the midst of his people as an abiding personal presence. And he knows our struggles, he knows our sorrows, he knows our trials and our triumphs. I thank God that as his child I never have to be alone. And neither do you. Jesus said, “I’ll always be with you, even to the end of the world,” Matthew 28:20.

I love the words of Hebrews 13:5-6 where he says, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you; so that with good courage we can say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what shall man do unto me?'” I don’t have to be afraid, because Jesus promised to always be there for me. Recognizing Jesus as the Christ among the lampstands should keep us from ever feeling lonely or abandoned and give us strength to do all things.

As Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Well, we’ve seen Jesus from a number of different angles, perspectives, so many different portraits here in the Revelation. We’ve seen Jesus as the revealer and we’ve seen him as the firstborn from the dead, the faithful witness. We’ve seen him as the ruler over the kings of the earth. We’ve seen him here as the one who made us kings and priests in his kingdom. We’ve seen him as the coming one and as that awesome one who stands in the midst of his people.

The final strokes in our portraits of Christ, however, are furnished by this massed choir of ten thousand times ten thousand angels, who with a very loud voice according to Revelation 5:12 say these words: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Jesus Christ is that great one who deserves, who is worthy of our worship.

What picture do you have of Christ in your mind’s eye?

Do you see him as your savior and Lord?

Sinner, will you turn from sin, acknowledge him today, and demonstrate your faith in Jesus by being immersed in water in order to receive the forgiveness of your sins? If you believe him, if you trust him with your life, then you’ll make that decision to turn away from sin, to live for God. You’ll confess him, you’ll declare him and your faith in him before others, and you will be willing to give yourself wholly and completely to him, being baptized into Christ, being baptized into his death, dying to that old man, allowing that old man to be buried, to be raised again to walk in newness of life. You’ll devote your life to the one who gave his life for you.

If you’re a Christian today, have you been true to Jesus? Have you sins that need to be confessed? Do you need to be made right with God? I ask you all this morning, are you faithful to Christ?

>> (Singing)

ROBERT >> Thank you for watching our program today. We have but one goal, to help us all towards heaven. This is the mission God has given us, to “go and make disciples of Jesus Christ, baptizing and teaching them,” Matthew 28:19. We know that the gospel of Christ is “God’s power unto salvation,” Romans 1:16. And Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by Me,” (John 14:6).

Yes, “there’s no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,” (Acts 4:12). And therefore, like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “We seek to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Unlike many other religious television programs, we’ll never ask you for any money. Everything’s provided by churches of Christ and individual Christians who support us so that we can bring it to you absolutely free of charge. So feel free to let us know if you have any questions, comments or requests.

If you’d like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, whatever you need, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas, 76053. You may e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv. Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966. And also please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Again, remember that you’ll never have to pay for any of our materials and services. We want to thank the many churches of Christ who help support this program. And let me also encourage you to visit one of them in your area very soon. Their names will be scrolled on the screen at the end of the program. And we just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love. >> (Singing)